Fighting negative diabetes perceptions


diabetes perceptions 300x199 Fighting negative diabetes perceptionsI am  perceived as a couch potato, soda drinking, gluttonous fat slob of a person who ate and drank himself to a diabetes diagnosis aren’t you?

and because of it the most common phrase I hear when I tell someone I have diabetes is the incredulous  “Really!!! but you do not look like someone with diabetes.”  I can see myself ballooning into an 800 pound behemoth in their eyes the very Instant I make my revelation. Now unless I am the Moronic Donna Simpsons or Susanne Emans of the world This always pisses me hell off.

Ignorance and  fear is the root cause  of negative diabetes perceptions and from such a dwelling place comes finger pointing and blame intended to make others feel inferior to us.

So how do we fight these negative diabetes perceptions? How do we educate and share truths??

There is no simple answer or straight forward solution to this problem and here is why.

My son goes to school about 20 miles from where I currently live. He has been in the same school since kindergarten and although I have moved from that suburb, we love the school so much that I kept him there. For the commute I have to drive on the freeway which by passes a certain suburb and for the past 2 years I have been pulled over by the police about five times and in all those five times I have never been cited or given a ticket for any reason whatsoever.

Here is the typical conversation when I get pulled over..

Cop: License and registration

Me: Here you go officer

Cop: Do you know why I pulled you over?

Me: No?

Cop: Who is the owner of this car?

Me: Well this is my girlfriends car.

Cop: Ok sit tight. (goes checks my information and comes back)

Cop from incident 1:  Where are you going? Me: Pick up my son from school. Cop: OK have a nice day

Cop from incident 2: The reason I pulled over is because you have too many air fresheners attached to your windshield and that can cause an accident. Please remove them and have a nice day.

Cop from Incident 3: OK have a nice day. Me: Didn’t you pull me over 2 weeks ago because I remember you. Cop: No that wasn’t  me. Have a nice day sir

Cop from Incident 4: Have a nice day sir and do not forget to wear your seat belt.

Cop from Incident 5: Do you mind if I look in the trunk? Me:  Why? Cop: Your trunk seems to be riding kinda low. Me: Well its winter sir and I have some salt back there to weigh it down so I don’t slip and slide. Cop: Do you mind if I take a peek. Me: Sure. Cop: Oh I see, OK have a good day sir.

Now this all might be summed up as coincidence or statistics. Traveling on the same road 4 times a day, five days a week  maybe six hundred times without rousing some kind of interest or suspicion from Johnny Law. But more likely than not I am being  profiled.

Wrong skin color, the dread locks I had or maybe it was  the car I was driving. It very well Could be a thousand different reasons and yet I will always come back to the profiling.

My perceptions of the Police  and their perceptions of me are very much intertwined both coming from a place of personal prejudice and history, and truth be told this is not about to change anytime soon. The incidences just acted as a buffer to enforce my negative views of the them and unless I am shown otherwise, those perceptions remain.

The greatest weapon against negative perceptions is education.

As tiring and monotonic  it gets to educate  people of the different types of diabetes, how  eating too much sugar will not give them diabetes, how not every Fat person in America is diabetic and not any diabetic is a fat slob. It is the only alternative current circumstances present.

It is OK to react in anger sometimes and crack whips at those panderers who should know better, lord knows I have but the masses just do not know any better…

I would like to hear from you on how you handled a situation where someone came at you with negative perceptions about your diabetes..








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  1. I laugh, snicker, and smile at them… ” oh you poor fool! Obviously I have more fun than you do!”either they’re are real curious or absolutely ticked off by now!

    Yes, I can get mad but live and let live…. If they ask, we’ll chat!

  2. What a great post, Ronnie! Although, it’s unfortunate you had to write it in the first place. I think that those negative perceptions are way too prevalent in people’s minds, and we as a community can – and already are to some degree – trying to address them where they are coming from: media. You can see this pre-conception whenever a story or article appears in a general interest paper online, and everyone responds with comments that are just not very nice. They fuel to the perception. We all get that, I do too as a Type 1. People hear “diabetes” and don’t know very much, and they go with their gut reaction. I think some of the perception is created because of that delicate line between “this is serious and life-changing” to diabetes being “manageable.” We try to be positive, but the negative often gets the promotion – even by some of the biggest orgs like ADA and JDRF, which push the “woe is me” and “horror story” components to make their pitches. I think this is all part of the same battle we’re facing, and look forward to continuing to confront it. Thanks for the post, my friend.

    • So true Mike. It is partly the mass media’s fault for these negative diabetes perceptions. Most people only know and regurgitate what they see or hear on TV and other media sources that having been said I had a chat with a CDE once who runs a local diabetes non profit and she told me that the newly diagnosed face the same problem which is that they had no clue about diabetes until their diagnosis. Which is why I always exercise restraint when someone says something negative and untrue about diabetes. I try to educate them because I assume they just don’t know the truth…

  3. thanks for a great post and interesting comments. i found this post while surfing the web. thanks for sharing this article.

  4. thanks for taking the time to write, i never find time to write good posts. i really appreciate all the good information everyone has to share.

  5. this article gives the light in which we can observe the reality. this is particularly a nice one and gives in-depth information. thanks for this nice article.

  6. I am sorry that you have to deal with that on several different levels Ronnie. How I handle the situation really depends on the person making the comment. You know some people will never get it know matter how many times they are told. Other people truly just don’t understand. Those people I will try to explain things to.


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